Organised settlement is the way to go for Rwanda
The Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) is formulating the Local Development Plans (LDPs) which will spell out how the available resources especially land is to be utilized sustainably.
According to Edward Kyazze, the head of RHA’s Urban Planning and Development Division, Rwanda being one of Africa’s emerging economies needs to ensure that economic activities take place in organized settlements.
The plan involves demarcated areas for roads, drainage system as well as water and electricity lines among other things.
LDPs will guide future developments in towns and rural areas, with economic activities planned in a sustainable manner.
The plans according to Kyazze, consider environmental aspects since environmental sustainability is a major emphasis in Rwanda’s development agenda.
“Under the new plans we don’t want people to build commercial structures in areas planned for residencies,” Kyazze says, adding that the LDPs address sustainable development, focusing on issues of population’s health as well.
RHA says the LDPs for the settlements, will act as catalyst for investment in social amenities like, hospitals, industries, and schools among others.
To ensure success, RHA is intending to spend up to Rwf1billion in technical and a minimal financial support to plot servicing programs.
The new planning standards of houses will improve and a mechanism of availing low-cost houses will also be considered under the LDP’s.
“We are focusing on financial institutions to persuade then to provide low-cost mortgages to the low income earners to build descent houses in the planned areas.
RHA however, sees their biggest challenge in the implementation of the LDP’s as finance.
“Most citizens do not have the financial capacity to build homes that meet the standards spelled out in the LDPs,” says Kyazze.
The above is worsened by the fact that there is limited private sector participation even though government has invested in basic infrastructure like roads.
The later is caused by the Districts low capacity to market the available opportunities and their economic potential to investors to set up projects that can create employment.
The future plans for LDP’s development according to RHA are going to be based on a physical master plan detailing all sectors that can provide economic transformation in the planned settlements.
This Kyazze says, will help avoid the development of informal units such as slums. By 2020 urbanization in Rwanda is expected to hit a 35% mark though the implementation of the LDPs.